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George W. Bush Institute to Sponsor National Economic Debate Competition for High School Students in October
The Bush Institute is proud to announce its first annual two-day Economic Debate Weekend, a contest for high school debaters offered in conjunction with the communications department of Southern Methodist University, the St. Mark’s School of Texas, and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. The two-day event will take place at the Westin Park-Central Hotel in Dallas, Texas, on October 20 and 21, 2012. The weekend will kick-off with a day of learning and debating among 100 Dallas Independent School District debate students. The students will address this year’s national urban debate league theme: transportation and economic growth. To facilitate, Mexican scholar and economist Dr. Roberto Salinas-Leon and scholars from the Mexican Business Forum will spend the day instructing the students on the topics of transport and growth, and coaching them to prepare for a debate. A special session for parents of debaters will be hosted by the Mexican Business Forum, addressing the value of debate and how participation affects their children’s future. Saturday will conclude with a dinner featuring a prominent keynote address, awards to top debaters, and invitations for finalists to participate in a Sunday debate challenge. The Sunday event will be part of the legendary “St. Mark’s Heart of Texas” invitational debate tournament. This tournament is one of the largest and most competitive tournaments in the nation, and is attended by college recruiters nationwide. Over 110 public and private schools participate in this annual Dallas-based tournament. The Bush Institute Economic Debate portion of the tournament will utilize an impromptu hybrid format, with a question relating to economic growth and markets. Judges will include nonprofessionals in order to afford debaters a chance to practice their skills in a real-world format. All participants in the Sunday debate will be invited to attend the keynote dinner the night before. The winner of the Saturday debate will receive $2,000, and each of the finalists will receive $1,000. In addition, the schools of all finalists will receive $1,000 travel money for their debate programs. On Sunday, the winner of St. Mark’s/Bush Institute national debate will receive $10,000, and the second, third, and fourth place finishers will receive $5,000 each. The top 4 finishers’ schools will receive $4,000 each for team travel expenses. The annual debate weekend is part of the economic growth area’s signature program, The 4% Growth Project. To help coordinate the Economic Debate Weekend, the Bush Institute has engaged top Dallas debate professionals, including: Nicole Serrano, executive director of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, Tim Mahoney, director of debate at St. Mark’s School, and Ben Voth, director of debate at Southern Methodist University.
Hannah Abney directs strategic communications and messaging for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, leading a team responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies that help advance the Bush Center’s work in developing leaders, fostering policy, and taking action to save and change lives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, she led public relations activities for consumer and non-profit brands at The Richards Group. Abney also led communications efforts at a national retail trade association in Washington, DC, and served in the George W. Bush Administration in the Vice President’s Office.
A native of Milwaukee, WI, she is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University (B.A., Music) and lives in Dallas with her husband and young sons.Full Bio
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